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Banner Estrella Medical Center Recognized As An Energy Star Facility By EPA

Banner Estrella Medical Center is the first and only hospital in Maricopa County to be labeled an Energy Star certified building by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Currently, only four hospitals in Arizona and 150 hospitals nationwide have the EPA-certified Energy Star label. Energy Star certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings. Fifteen types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star certification, including office buildings, K-12 schools and retail stores.

“We are excited to see that the dedication of our Facilities Department, and our relationship with our utility company, Salt River Project (SRP), has resulted in this honor from the federal government,” said Deb Krmpotic, Chief Executive Officer of Banner Estrella.

The hospital’s Facilities Department worked with SRP over a 12-month period to track key metrics in Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager™, such as energy intensity and costs, water use and carbon emissions, to reach the required benchmarks for the Energy Star label. The benchmarks take into account the number of staffed beds and workers and the types of services offered at the hospital to compare it with like facilities. Commercial buildings that earn the EPA’s Energy Star label must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect.

One of the major contributing factors to achieving this recognition was the energy savings the hospital realized as a result of its participation in the SRP Retrocommissioning Solutions program. This program enhances existing systems through a tuneup, rather than relying on major equipment replacement. SRP collaborated with Banner Estrella’s Facilities Department to evaluate the chiller plant, HVAC fans, air handlers and reheat components and get them back to running in tiptop shape. As a result of the findings, the hospital saved more than $100,000 in energy costs the first year.

“Banner Estrella is a leader in the health care industry when it comes to energy efficiency. We look forward to many more successful projects with Banner Estrella, as well as other Banner Health facilities, in the future. It’s wonderful to see the hospital recognized on a national level,” said Debbie Kimberly, Director of Customer Programs & Marketing at SRP.

Launched in 1992 by the EPA, Energy Star is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. This year marks Energy Star’s 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, with help from Energy Star, American families and businesses have saved about $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 kinds of products and more than 1.3 million new homes.

For more information on the EPA’s Energy Star Program, visit Energy Star’s website at energystar.gov.

green building, Reduce Risk On Green Building Projects

How Subcontractors Can Reduce Risk On Green Building Projects

Green building provides a unique opportunity for the small to mid-sized subcontractor. In fact, an integrated approach to green design, building and construction will be essential to efficiently building green projects. Subcontractors and material providers can greatly benefit from the green building trend by understanding certification requirements, becoming familiar with green practices for their particular trade, and by being knowledgeable about green materials.

 

While the potential to increase business for a green subcontractor is clear, it should be noted that green building is not without risk. Owner expectations are often heightened in green building. Often the general contractor or developer has promised a certain level of “green” that may or may not be able to be achieved on a particular project. Arguably, the most likely claim to arise will be that the finished building is not as “green” as promised by the contractor. In order to protect the subcontractor from overstated promises erroneously made or implied by the general contractor or developer, there are certain contract provisions that must be in every subcontract.

As always, a clear and well-defined contract will be critical to protect the subcontractor from potential risks on such projects. It is imperative that green subcontractors include clear definitions and performance standards, clear disclosures, and exercise greater caution in bid and contract negotiation. Of particular importance will be express contract provisions to protect the subcontractor should the general contractor or developer fail to deliver as “green” a building as was initially promised. A green sub-contract should include language stating that ordinary skill and care will be used to achieve the project’s green objective; however, the subcontractor does not warrant or guarantee that those objectives will be met beyond the subcontractor’s limited scope of work.

Further, the sub-contract should also contain express disclosures to protect against unrealistic expectations of the owner or user. One such disclosure should be that a green building does not equate to a “defect-free” building. Similarly, it should be clear that no specific level of energy efficiency or performance is guaranteed. The sub-contract should also include a standard disclosure that new and innovative products and/or technologies may be used and that those products and technologies may lack a proven history. The subcontractor should not expressly guaranty any new product or technology.

As with all projects, the parties to a green contract or sub-contract must contractually account for the uncertainty that may occur during a green building project. It is important to minimize risk where possible.

Although a green building design may carry with it the potential for increased claims and liabilities, taking the precautionary measure of creating a clear contract — which defines realistic performance criteria — provides a simple way to protect both the subcontractor and the owner from disputes arising from unrealistic expectations or ill-defined terms.

Green IconThis article contains a general discussion of the law. This article does not constitute and should not be treated as legal advice as to any particular situation. You should always consult your attorney with regard to contract issues.

Remarkable Stats

  • In the United States, buildings account for 39% of total energy use, 12% of the total water consumption, 68% of electricity consumption and 38% of carbon dioxide emissions. Green construction methods are increasingly being used in building projects at all stages from design and construction, to renovation and destruction.
  • In fact, the McGraw Hill 2006 Smart Market Report predicts that green non-residential construction will comprise as much as 10% of all non-residential construction by 2010. This figure represented a sizeable growth potential in the green building market.